NHSX relaunches recruitment for CNIO after admitting first attempt ‘got it wrong’ on inclusivity

Initial advert was criticised for excluding many potential BAME candidates

Credit: Amtec Photos/CC BY-SA 2.0

NHSX has relaunched its bid to recruit a national chief nursing information officer. The first advert, published earlier this month, was retracted following criticisms that its stipulations would exclude all but a handful of candidates from minority backgrounds.

The original specification called for applicants with “significant experience at director level”. Several people expressed concern at the extent to which this would restrict the diversity of the potential candidate pool. One Twitter user said that this requirement would mean that only a handful of BAME nurses from across the country would be eligible to apply for the position.

After two days, the advert was taken down, with NHSX explaining that it was “looking again at the criteria to ensure they fit with [our] values”. 

The technology organisation has since taken on feedback from external parties, including The Shuri Network – which was set up earlier this and is “the first NHS network of Black Asian and Minority Ethnic women in health tech and digital health”.

The revised job advert has now been published, and the recruitment process has begun again. Candidates that applied while the first advert was live are advised that their applications “have been saved and are still valid”. 

Among the changes, the “experience and knowledge” section of the person specification has been updated. It now stipulates that “significant experience at senior level in the NHS and/or other public healthcare-related industry” is considered desirable – but not essential. 

Among the essential experience required is “experience of delivering improved patient outcomes”, “experience of ensuring that patients, staff, and the public are engaged… [in] digital transformation programmes”, and “experience of championing diversity and inclusion”. 

The overarching remit of the CNIO will be to “lead, on behalf of the chief nursing officer, the digital agenda as it applies to nursing and nursing and midwifery practice”.

Key responsibilities of the post – which also encompasses the title of director of digital safety – include overseeing “clinical and service transformation within a provider and/or integrated care system” and leading work to “digitise core clinical and operational capabilities within individual settings and supporting/enabling the development of integrated models of care”.

The CNIO will also be responsible for leading the fourth of the five core “delivery missions” identified by NHSX: “aiding the improvement of patient safety across the NHS”.

The position, which based at the south London office of NHS England and NHS Improvement, comes with an annual salary of £100,000. Applications are open until 12 November and the successful candidate will report to the health service’s chief clinical information officer Simon Eccles, and will also be “professionally accountable” to chief nursing officer Ruth May. 

On Twitter, Eccles said: “Sorry we got it wrong, but delighted we’ve now got it right. Please apply if this looks like the job you’d love to do!”


Sam Trendall

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